Latest NSA abuse allegation: Spying on the United Nations

By now, this shouldn’t be a suprise. The National Security Agency spied on the internal video conferencing system used by United Nations officials by decrypting it last year, according to German magazine Der Spiegel.

The disclosure came from documents leaked by Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor who has provided a trove of materials to Britains’ The Guardian newspaper about heretofore secret details of the NSA’s surveillance program. The De Spiegel story says that the encryption cracking took place in the summer of 2012. In our spy-versus-spy world, one other choice nugget came to public notice: The documents detail the NSA discovered that the Chinese were also attempting to break into UN communications at the same time.

» via CNET

House approves resolution to keep Internet control out of UN hands

The House on Wednesday unanimously passed a Senate resolution introduced by Sens. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) that calls on the U.S. government to oppose United Nations control of the Internet.

The 397-0 vote is meant to send a signal to countries meeting at a U.N. conference on telecommunications this week. Participants are meeting to update an international telecom treaty, but critics warn that many countries’ proposals could allow U.N. regulation of the Internet. 

» via The Hill’s Hillicon Valley

It’s rare that ordinary internet users need to care about what goes on at the United Nations, but this is definitely one of those times, if only because the UN’s telecom arm is currently holding hearings in Dubai that could change the way the global network functions in some important ways. Although fears of what some have described as a UN “takeover” of the internet are over-blown, some of the proposals the telecom committee will be considering could have ramifications for the way we use the internet, and perhaps more importantly how we pay for it. They are serious enough that Net veterans like Vint Cerf, one of the “fathers of the internet,” are warning of the dangers if these proposals are actually adopted.

Why you should be afraid of the UN’s plan to regulate the internet — Tech News and Analysis

U.N. calls for 'anti-terror' Internet surveillance

The United Nations is calling for more surveillance of Internet users, saying it would help to investigate and prosecute terrorists.

A 148-page report released today titled “The Use of the Internet for Terrorist Purposes” warns that terrorists are using social networks and other sharing sites including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Dropbox, to spread “propaganda.”

"Potential terrorists use advanced communications technology often involving the Internet to reach a worldwide audience with relative anonymity and at a low cost," said Yury Fedotov, executive director of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

» via CNET

Debunking Rumors of an Internet Takeover

This just in from Geneva: The United Nations has no plans to seize control of the Internet. The Web-snatching black helicopters have not left the hangar.

Internet conspiracy theorists will be disappointed. The latest one, fueled by “open Internet” groups, Internet companies like Google and some U.S. lawmakers, was that mouse-clicking bureaucrats at U.N. headquarters in Geneva, supported by governments suspicious of the United States, were scheming to take over the Internet itself.

» via The New York Times (Subscription may be required for some content)

House to examine plan for United Nations to regulate the Internet

House lawmakers will consider an international proposal next week to give the United Nations more control over the Internet.

The proposal is backed by China, Russia, Brazil, India and other UN members, and would give the UN’s International Telecommunication Union (ITU) more control over the governance of the Internet.

It’s an unpopular idea with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle in Congress, and officials with the Obama administration have also criticized it.

» via The Hill’s Hillicon Valley